Dad: DeKalb man charged after Paine College shooting lived in fear

The father of a DeKalb County man apprehended after a shooting at an Augusta college campus said today his son has received threats on his life since January.

About 1 p.m. Monday, 21-year-old JaJuan Baker of Wilmington, N.C., was shot in the head inside a building at Paine College, about two hours east of Atlanta. That shooting, the second in two days at the school, prompted hours-long lockdowns at both Paine College and nearby Georgia Regents University, the site of the Medical College of Georgia.

Xavier Deanthony Cooper, a 20-year-old sophomore business major from DeKalb, was taken into custody after authorities found him in a Paine College dorm, the Richmond County Sheriff's Office said. According to WRDW-TV, he was booked into the Richmond County Jail about 11 p.m. Monday. He is being held there on several charges, including aggravated assault, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime and possession of a firearm on school building, grounds or function, online jail records show.

Reached by phone today as he was driving from his DeKalb County home to Augusta, Anthony Cooper told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that his son was not involved in the first shooting at Paine College. Investigators said they believe Monday’s shooting was related to the first one on Sunday.

“My son was home Sunday and went back to school Sunday,” Anthony Cooper said. “Now they’re trying to link him to that (shooting).”

He said Xavier Cooper is a graduate of Cedar Grove High School near Lithonia.

Since the beginning of this semester, Anthony Cooper said his son has remained in fear for his life because of threats from locals who have developed a beef with a group of Atlanta students.

“These boys were coming to their dorm rooms and saying they were going to kill him,” Anthony Cooper said.

He said the group of men who threatened his son believed Xavier Cooper and his friends were moving in on their drug turf.

“He doesn’t sell drugs,” Xavier Cooper said.

Asked about the Monday shooting, the father said he didn’t know if his son was responsible, but acknowledged that he had been in fights with a certain group before and was trying to protect himself.

“I didn’t even know he had a gun or how he got it,” Anthony Cooper said. “All I know is that he had been protecting himself with a steel pipe.”

He said he and his wife have been in constant contact with school officials since their son began having fights at the school.